My friend Lisa Marr sent me a link to a film. It was Evelyn Roth’s ‘Woven in Time’.
I didn’t know anything about Evelyn or her work, but now I’m smitten with the huge driftwood needles, her wild creations.
In the 1970s, Canadian fabric artist Evelyn Roth was known for her work crocheting everything from bags and hats to full building canopies from recycled videotape, and creating wearable sculptures or sculptural wearables.
I played the film, and marveled – a movie from 1976:
Evelyn Roth began working with old videotape because it was resilient and cost nothing.
“Videotape was free and abundant and strong and made all these incredible things… It’s a wonderful material for workshops and public interest. It’s a nice material for children and adults to use, to use your hands with, to experiment with.”
In 1971, Roth received a Canada Council arts grant, and used it to drive from Vancouver to St. John’s, Newfoundland. During her journey, she stopped in major cities to collect old videotapes and create artwork for the city.
Roth sourced the video tape from TV stations. “If I didn’t pick it up, it would just be thrown out.”
In this next documentary clip ‘Evelyn Roth Arts 74’, the artist talks about her work with discarded videotape. “The art critics have hats out of videotape that I’ve made that they wear”.
Evelyn finger-crocheted a ‘car cosy’ out of videotape to cover her car for her journey across Canada in the ’70s.
“It’s a conversation piece … A car cosy … what more visual statement can I make?” Roth took about a week to make it and she put pouches on the sides of the car with the information all about the trip in the pockets, so people could read about what she was doing.
This clip ends with Roth talking about ‘The Video Trap’, a crocheted work that directly connects the TV to the viewer, to show the feeling the content and the mood of the TV set has in the house – “one is caught by what kind of programmes one watches.”
Roth’s recycling creations include a giant nylon zoo, complete with inflatable fabric animals, that children can crawl inside for story time.
Here’s part two of ‘Evelyn Roth Arts 74′ talking about how she works as an artist and teaches workshops, and about her giant live-in ‘family sweater’ – a family of four can live in one sweater. “I am trying to work with materials that have been cast off and are really quite precious”.
These are beautiful creations.